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Trade and Markets in Glorantha

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1 hour ago, Darius West said:

Mostali don't have a hell of a lot of use for wood.

I'm not sure this is true. Mostali are hard at work repairing the World Machine, wood is certainly a good plant rune material. It can be transmuted into a petrified form, liquified to make special alchemical creations, burnt to priduce other forms. I'm pretty sure wood is an essential although rare commodity. 

28 minutes ago, Darius West said:

and removing water is an ongoing problem for all mine works, even in a dwarf quarry.

That's a very real world problem. Mostali sorcery and mundane techniques would eliminate this problem. They are lifting the land out of the ocean with a huge capstan, I'm sure water in a mine quarry really isn't a problem. Water spirits are easy to manage. 

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On 11/7/2016 at 7:10 AM, Tindalos said:


It's more that the bogs are unsuitable for widespread logging operations, being flooded completely 3 seasons out of five, full of bugs, and treacherous.

Doesn't mean you can't get wood from there though, and as hardwoods, and with skullbushes plentiful in the bogs, it'd be worth the insect bites to get what trees you can.

Of course, in Pavis itself, I'd be willing to bet the cult of Florian the Gardener helps out a lot, probably teaching Food Song from Pavis' connection to the elves, enabling for harvesting wood without necessarily angering the elves of the garden.

Of course it isn't just newtlings and mosquitoes who like swamps.  Chaos has a liking for swamps too; broos and dragon snails in particular. On the up side... no elves.  

Now as for flooding, and cutting trees, it can be done, but it is wasteful as you can't cut close to the base of the trunk, unless you can breathe underwater and are okay with chipping rather than felling trees with axes.  Once the log is in the water and floating, the water will actually help with its transport as it becomes a defacto raft.

I have looked into Cypress swamps in some detail now.  The Zola Fel has about 25,000 hectares of bog, which contains cypress trees, .  Cypress is adequately strong for weapons and just fine for building timber and other hardwood uses such as furniture etc.  Cypresses, especially swamp cypresses grow reasonably quickly which is good news (they apparently produce "false rings" which throw out the usual dendrochronology methods if one is unaware).  They reach maximum growth of about 40-50m after 200 years and can live 1000 years.  The bad news is that while most forests produce between 12,300-15,000kg of wood per hectare, cypress swamps produce only 700kg or so per hectare,  Given ongoing demand, the settlements of the Zola Fel would strip the bogs quite quickly.  Otherwise this would be plausible.

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5 minutes ago, David Scott said:

I'm not sure this is true. Mostali are hard at work repairing the World Machine, wood is certainly a good plant rune material. It can be transmuted into a petrified form, liquified to make special alchemical creations, burnt to produce other forms. I'm pretty sure wood is an essential although rare commodity. (1)

That's a very real world problem. Mostali sorcery and mundane techniques would eliminate this problem. They are lifting the land out of the ocean with a huge capstan, I'm sure water in a mine quarry really isn't a problem. Water spirits are easy to manage. (2)

1) I didn't rule out Mostali using wood.  I even mentioned Alchemically modified timber.  The real problem is the volume and burying it.

2) I have a feeling that the Mostali may be using more than one capstan and I am sure they are all very large.  As for keeping water out of the space, with the correct alchemical treatment, they might have even stored the timber in the bottom of one of the quarries and weighed it down with rock.

I am coming around to this idea, but there is a much better answer.

We know that when Robcradle was founded it was a time of high giant cradle volume, with one cradle arriving every 5-15 years.  This petered out a bit but didn't stop.  We also know that Pavis himself robbed cradles.  It is plausible that when the cradles were broken down, that the giant boot timber was stored.  There is no mention of where Dorasor got his building materials for New Pavis, and I had assumed that the timber was imported from Sartar, but perhaps a good portion of it came from stored cradle parts?

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45 minutes ago, Iskallor said:

On earth maybe, but Glorantha isnt earth.

Glorantha is a lot like Earth.  Glorantha is however a LOW fantasy world, and why use references like existing species if they have no similarity to real world examples?   You want a Glorantha which is way more magical than it was ever meant to be.  You seem to think that Hero Quests are a daily occurrence and that more than a tiny percentage of the total population does them.  Most Gloranthans don't live in HeroQuest, they live in RuneQuest.  They understand the world through mythology, they have a couple of spells, but most magic is completely out of their grasp. They don't stack a keyword feat onto a multi-mastered skill and make impossible things happen on a daily basis.  If they want magical power they have to slowly and methodically work towards it.  HQ is a super hero RPG set in Glorantha.  You say Glorantha isn't Earth, but maybe it should be a bit more like the real world so that magic doesn't impoverish the game environment and the game experience ?  A believable world requires consistency, if everything is just answered with magic and magic has no limits, then you might as well say that the Vadeli used sorcery to mind control everyone in the whole world, there is no free will anymore, game over.  Face facts, the Vadeli have lived pretty well forever, they have mind control magics, so why haven't they mind controlled the whole sentient population of Glorantha?  The answer?  Magic has limits, and it SHOULD have limits.

Edited by Darius West
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I've found at least one precedent for Aldryami trading timber in the Guide to Glorantha on page 232 under the Yggs Islands section: "They maintain an ancient agreement with the elves of Winterwood which allows them a limited harvest of lumber and other forest products, in exchange for tribute and gifts."

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This is getting a little OT, but HeroQuest can be every bit as gritty as RuneQuest, it just depends on how the GM applies the credibility test. Likewise, Runequest can be quit superheroic (people hurling lightning bolts and sunspears). Any rules system is a lens through which Glorantha is perceived; neither is any more correct than the other in defining how the inhabitants actually live. 

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3 hours ago, Darius West said:

I have looked into Cypress swamps in some detail now.  The Zola Fel has about 25,000 hectares of bog, which contains cypress trees, .  Cypress is adequately strong for weapons and just fine for building timber and other hardwood uses such as furniture etc.  Cypresses, especially swamp cypresses grow reasonably quickly which is good news (they apparently produce "false rings" which throw out the usual dendrochronology methods if one is unaware).  They reach maximum growth of about 40-50m after 200 years and can live 1000 years.  The bad news is that while most forests produce between 12,300-15,000kg of wood per hectare, cypress swamps produce only 700kg or so per hectare,  Given ongoing demand, the settlements of the Zola Fel would strip the bogs quite quickly.  Otherwise this would be plausible.

I imagine that they don't harvest all that much, since the bogs aren't exactly friendly. One or two trees a village a year or so. Which of course isn't much, but then they'll have simple farming magic like repair, which will keep the timbers of buildings going much longer. I imagine they'd be using canes and skullbushes for most other purposes (tool hafts, etc)

3 hours ago, David Scott said:

That's a very real world problem. Mostali sorcery and mundane techniques would eliminate this problem. They are lifting the land out of the ocean with a huge capstan, I'm sure water in a mine quarry really isn't a problem. Water spirits are easy to manage. 

Yeah, I imagine most Dwarf mines have a sump chamber where they bind the water spirits to, imprisoning them until they're able to transport them somewhere else. Of course this is entirely due to Water's escape from the Great Sump itself (known to others as the Underworld.)

When the World Machine is complete, the Pump is rebuilt (known to mortals as the Spike) and all that is wrong can be safely flushed back down there with the trolls and other useless things.

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As an aside, I just came across something from ten years ago that we came up with for a PBEM Rory did. I was playing a Lunar merchant that was part of an exploratory expedition down into Resettlement-ish-era Dragon Pass. This is what he took along with him as hongo to trade with whomsoever he found there... (Created by the other players and myself.)

1. pickled ostrich testicles[1], three dozen (36) jars of

2. aromatic, jasmine-scented Kralori herbs, seventeen (17) small wooden boxes of

3. Erigian staring ursine[2], one (1) thawed specimen

4. ground carapace of Thovelon beetle[3], one (1) small jar of

5. preserved quails' eggs, fourteen gross (2016)

6. finest red-capped fungi, dried, one (1) kilo of

7. Sylilan jewelry, Jillaro mark, one (1) coffer of

8. red lunary beads with Full Moon copper pendants, one (1) chest of

9. finely illustrated Pelandan and Dorkathi fertility rituals[4], three (3) scrolls

10. Moonblessed silvershine rainwater, ninety-six (96) small silver cans of

11. finest Holayan henna, four (4) small pottery urns of, embossed with the rune of the Red Woman

12. White Sea whale oil, two (2) large tuns of

13. crimson angelfish, moonsalted, three (3) tuns of

14. wine, thirty (30) amphorae of [eighteen (18) of Medonius' Shield Karreshi wine[5]; ten (10) of Herontear Darjiini rice and appleblossom wine[6]; and two (2) of crudely labelled 'Magically preserved Durnvoking fiery acorn beer'[7]]

15. oil of Kostaddi brown olives[8], six (6) large clay jars of

16. iron chests, two (2) large

17. crimson and scarlet-dyed cloth, forty-five (45) bolts of

18. exquisitely crafted Lunar idols (fired clay, wood, ivory, soapstone, metal), five (5) wooden crates of, marked 'Fragile'

19. Balazaring Dulu Nuts[9], one (1) large sack of

20. Man Who Would Be Hongo[10], one (1)

21. Hypocorax Joon's Patent Sapphirine Moon Tonic[11], one dozen (12) vials of

22. Kratikos of Mintinus' Grotaron Brachiognomy, six (6) first edition copies of, bound, with diagrams and anatomical illumination[12]

23. Box of haberdash: red clay tie-on pilgrim badges (Moonson, Crimson Bat, etc.), one gross (144)

The Black Boxes…

The two large iron chests are placed toward the back of the wares, covered by cloths and various ephemera. They are ‘secret’. These strongboxes are locked and both contain weapons. Many expedition members and military personnel would not be happy with the idea of trading weapons to the potentially hostile savages we meet. One chest contains carefully wrapped, refined lo-metal swords, of finest Pelandan manufacture: light as a feather and bearing the Third Eye Blue stamp. The other chest contains refined el-metal spear and arrowheads, ‘liberated’ from the supplies of the Marble Phalanx and Gilt Scythes regiments (they bear their regimental marks).


[1]               From the Rinliddi ostrich, a flightless bird much smaller than the Praxian kind, and commonly known as varimu.

[2]               A starebear is something of a curiosity from far-distant Erigia, the inaccessible frozen wastes to that land's north, specifically, and is therefore an item of great rarity and value. Should an enterprising (some might say foolhardy) money-minded man spend half a year hacking away at the ice, he might come across a rather delightul bear, about the size of an eight-year-old, its eyes wide open beneath the ice, suspended in a long-lasting and inexplicable hibernation. If removed from the ice and thawed, these creatures will remain in hibernation, staring, so it would appear, right into the eyes of whoever should look upon them. What these bears are waiting for no-one knows, but to say they are a must-have among children of certain noble families would be an understatement, so said enterprising man may, should he be fortunate over the span of two years, make enough money to marry and set himself up as a man of note. Meanwhile, the bear, its eyes covered with a protective glassy material, its fur seemingly protected by the slow release of oils, continues to stare.

[3]               A super rare species found only on the shattered isle of Jrusteli, first catalogued by the ancient (and thankfully quite gone) God Learners. The beetle's carapace, when ground and applied as a ‘kohl’-type makeup rimming the eyes, acts as an aphrodisiac. Very expensive, and purchased only by nobility (with Lunar noble families possessing a particular preference).

[4]               One of these is an Illustrated Guide to the Great Sex Hunt, with attached woodcut engravings of the winning hunts of previous years with full instructions on how to achieve such improbable conjunctions.

[5]               Medonius' Shield is a bright and fruity wine of a ruddy amber colour, produced in the ket of Karresh. It is a popular beverage among the shield-brothers of the Lavic Legion, who commonly partake of the wine after drill, whilst combing each others' hair.

[6]               A potent wine popular in Darjiin.

[7]               A fiery (and mildly hallucinogenic) acorn beer drunk by Dorkathi adolescents as they embark on the Long Run to manhood.

[8]               As the rich and well-watered farmlands of eastern Vonlath give way to the drier, limey foothills ringing the Hungry Plateau, barley gives way to bountiful olive groves. With warm summers and mild winters, these rugged trees grow far from any coast; they are shorter than other olive trees, but can flourish in the hardiest of landscapes. Their fruit, the brown olive, is native to Kostaddi, and a fleshy and flavoursome crop. Its colour changes as it ripens, from a ruddy pale maroon when unripe, through to a rich russet when ripe, and a dull grey-black when overripe.

           The narrow leaves and white flowers of the olive trees are a favoured food of the Gerendethi goat daimones that roam the Kostaddi uplands. Though these goats do not eat the olives themselves, their actions cover unripe olives in a salty spittle, which helps ripen the fruit and prepare it for consumption. Brown olives are washed and pickled for eating, or pressed for oil. Tarter, unripe olives are occasionally used in compotes; while the black fruit is often sundried and taken with meat and cheese, or baked in bread.

[9]               In Balazar, dulu nuts come from dulu nut trees. Performing the right magic in Sea Season helps the Berry Maidens (bees) visit all the dulu nut trees, thus ensuring a good harvest. Later in the year, the dulu nuts can be gathered, then eaten or stored. One attractive possibility is to bury the dulu nuts underground for storage, yielding, in the depths of Dark Season, a rich crop of very tasty dulu nut grubs (already in the nuts at harvest but they grow big and fat and juicy, see.) Aside from the obvious benefits of such delicious, fat-rich food being available in Dark Season, this delicacy is much sought after by Darkmen and could be used to stave off an attack.

[10]             Keith’s character.

[11]             ‘Guaranteed to cure all septessential ills, malaises and diverse minor ailments.’ A supposed Lesillan recipe.

[12]             A learned, refined and, above all, rich Pelandan Second of the ket of Mintinus, the noble Kratikos has served as Keshborvo's patron for nearly a dozen years. He corresponds frequently with his client, being especially interested in the knowledge and observances of daily life and differing philosophies that Keshborvo gains on his mercantile ventures.

           In his younger days, Kratikos was an academic expert in grotaron brachiognomy. Indeed, it was his expeditions to the West that brought the hitherto-fabled gigantic race to the light of Imperial scholarly scrutiny. His corpus of work on the mythic and gigantologic implications of elbow extension, arm-hair density and relative tri-arm muscular development is a model of its kind, and a pioneering study in eugenics. Unfortunately Kratikos' later career was blighted by his open advocation of the existence of the legendary peak-hopping, sabre-toothed spirit mountain mammoths -- who are invisible to all but grotarons. Rumours of an over-indulgence of gocha root spread. His works on the mammoths' magical life, and even their supposed lost graveyard on the Spirit World, were less well received.

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4 hours ago, David Scott said:

I'm not sure this is true. Mostali are hard at work repairing the World Machine, wood is certainly a good plant rune material. It can be transmuted into a petrified form, liquified to make special alchemical creations, burnt to priduce other forms. I'm pretty sure wood is an essential although rare commodity. 

That's a very real world problem. Mostali sorcery and mundane techniques would eliminate this problem. They are lifting the land out of the ocean with a huge capstan, I'm sure water in a mine quarry really isn't a problem. Water spirits are easy to manage. 

But, one of the quarries in the Big Rubble is flooded and the dwarves have not been able to empty it.

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3 hours ago, Darius West said:

Glorantha is a lot like Earth.  Glorantha is however a LOW fantasy world, and why use references like existing species if they have no similarity to real world examples?   You want a Glorantha which is way more magical than it was ever meant to be.  You seem to think that Hero Quests are a daily occurrence and that more than a tiny percentage of the total population does them.  Most Gloranthans don't live in HeroQuest, they live in RuneQuest.  They understand the world through mythology, they have a couple of spells, but most magic is completely out of their grasp. They don't stack a keyword feat onto a multi-mastered skill and make impossible things happen on a daily basis.  If they want magical power they have to slowly and methodically work towards it.  HQ is a super hero RPG set in Glorantha.  You say Glorantha isn't Earth, but maybe it should be a bit more like the real world so that magic doesn't impoverish the game environment and the game experience ?  A believable world requires consistency, if everything is just answered with magic and magic has no limits, then you might as well say that the Vadeli used sorcery to mind control everyone in the whole world, there is no free will anymore, game over.  Face facts, the Vadeli have lived pretty well forever, they have mind control magics, so why haven't they mind controlled the whole sentient population of Glorantha?  The answer?  Magic has limits, and it SHOULD have limits.

I think that minor HeroQuests are performed far more often than people think. However, they only really affect the HeroQuestor or maybe his family. So, making a few trees in a fertile spot grow faster is possible, making a wood grow faster is difficult, making a forest grow faster is very rare.

 

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7 hours ago, soltakss said:

I think that minor HeroQuests are performed far more often than people think. However, they only really affect the HeroQuestor or maybe his family. So, making a few trees in a fertile spot grow faster is possible, making a wood grow faster is difficult, making a forest grow faster is very rare.

Making trees grow faster is a function of the Aldryami deities.  Most humans, Orlanthi and Lunars included, aren't elf friends, but to be fair, the Yelmalions are.  I personally don't have a problem with the notion of the settlements around Pavis supplementing their fields with orchards and plantation stands of timber, except that given the absence of arable land in arid Prax, this would reduce their available land for crops, but would require irrigation just as crops do, hence I would suspect only the rich families like the Garhounds and Indagos etc would have the surplus land to accommodate trees, and would likely profit immensely from them.  On the other hand, I am sure that all the usual Bless Crops, Sunripen and Rain spells would work well to encourage growth.  With enough accelerate growth spells from Alrdya or Flamal you could get a harvestable tree in 4 years and a fully grown tree in 20 years, but that would add to the price of the timber considerably as such spells don't come cheaply.  You don't spend 2000L on a spell that will enchant a tree whose timber will not sell for 2000L.

This of course really begs the next question, which is, how much will the timber cost wholesale and retail in a Pavis market?

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The Heroquest games i play are no different to my Runequest games, gritty and dealing with raiding tombs, fighting broo and stealing loot. My present  RQ game has more heroquests happening than HQ2. You have me way wrong Darius :)

I think there are a lot of misconceptions about what the Heroquest rules are about and how they can be used. We should start a thread...

But yeah a bit off topic so back on it.

Edited by Iskallor
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16 hours ago, Darius West said:

but perhaps a good portion of it came from stored cradle parts?

I think this is awesome and highly likely. In my Pavis this wood would never rot.

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20 hours ago, soltakss said:

But, one of the quarries in the Big Rubble is flooded and the dwarves have not been able to empty it.

That may have more to do with Zola Fel (the deity) than Dwarven engineering...  Rivers & water are PART of a working World Machine, and the Mostali may just be in error in attempting to draw down this water...

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So, to recap... 

The cradle timber is a possibility, but a good deal of it would have been used in the building of old Pavis, which is now rubble. Dorasor would have snaffled the rest of it to build New Pavis.  Old timber is still recycled from the rubble.

Settlements like Sun Dome, Garhound and Indagos probably have a few plantation stands of usable timber that they guard closely.  These supply mainly local needs but timber does make its way to New Pavis too. The timber is likely transported by Lokarnos wagons because there aren't many credible alternatives.  In difficult times these plantations may be the only source of timber.

The Praxians probably harvest swamp cypress of the Zola Fel Bogs, or trees from the Stormwalk rainshadow or from Shadows Dance.  They also buy timber for their needs at markets.

It is possible that other settlements make use of swamp timber, but it is not enough and the risks of harvesting there are high.  Something a vicious tribe can do, but settlers should avoid without a military escort.  Plus, intense harvesting will quickly ruin the pitiful stands.

 Getting timber down from the Redwood forest in Shadows Dance is implausible because of the Leaping Place falls and the difficult political situation.  Heroes can do it, but it is a major undertaking and basically not for mere mortals, so heroes won't make it an industry because there are easier ways to make a living than the hard labor of bronze age lumberjacking.

Which leaves running regular Lokarnos wagons across Pavis with loads of timber under guard.  It is a twenty day trip to New Pavis from Herongreen on the Pavis Road.  There is a large Lokarnos temple in New Pavis to accommodate the trade.  Damaged wagons can be collapsed and kept on other wagons. The shipment will be well protected, and will probably attract fellow travellers such as Issaries and Etyries merchants who group together for security, peeling off towards other oasis markets along the way. There is ample reason for the Lunars to want to increase this shipment, as they have huge plans for the settlement of the Zola Fel, but most importantly they want to turn Corflu into a major trading and military port (LOL). New Pavis carpenters are no doubt used to the delays in supply and to pre-ordering what they need.  New Pavis carpenters will never be a large guild but they have an abnormal degree of influence due to the scarcity and necessity of their material.  Allied trades such as weapon making, furniture making, coopers and shipbuilding are all in the Carpenters' Guild orbit. There is a good chance that the carpenters will belong to either the Orstan cult (Carpenter God of the Orlanthi) or a sun cult for the political and professional connections.  It is unlikely that Orstevius worship has made its way to New Pavis.  The Lokarnos cult now has an established reason for its large temple to exist in New Pavis, and the problem of where all the timber comes from is solved.

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This really just comes down to a difference of gaming styles and not rules. I have never been a fan of intricate design but can certainly respect those who want the world to work in detail. I love threads like this and now have incorporated the cradle wood into my campaign. I think some will have magical properties...

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Sure, I can't see why giant boot timber wouldn't have magical properties.  Baran the Monster Killer has a whole world of timber to choose from and he comes up the Zola Fel to get giant boot.  I would say that it is a super hard wearing, long lasting premium hardwood, and if giants use it for their cradles and their boots, the trees are both huge and have some ties to giants like Tada and Genert as well as the usual Aldryami. Perhaps the giant boot tree is the product of mating between Giants and Aldryami deities in the Green Age?

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@hkokko, you have metal from the Wastes as one of the common items. The nomads have no metalworking abilities at all and the area has no metal sources (hence the nomad need for it).

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Baran doesn't actually come up the Zola Fel for the wood, it's the PCs. He's a distant patron, Amur does the hiring. There's no mention that the Boot Wood is used for cradles - just boots, it's "renowned for its strength". It's unlikely that this wood is taken up stream given the geography. I believe the cradle wood comes down the mountains to be laid out at boathouse ruins (per the Guide). The giants have their own source, be it from the Green Age or a deal with the elves, we don't need to specify it now as it's clearly an adventure that's not yet written. It's likely its strength that allows bootwood to survive the leaping place falls. look at the Zola Fel catchement and the mountain tops. Zola Fel is in a deep relationship with the mountains:

Zola Fel catchment.png

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